R.A. The Rugged Man is one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in hip-hop. His career spans decades and he’s worked with legends like The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang, Public Enemy, and many more.
While others struggle to maintain a foothold in the ever-changing rap landscape, R.A. The Rugged Man is the rare artist who has become more relevant with time. In the song “Uncommon Valor : A Vietnam Story”, the Rugged Man delivers what is widely recognized as one of the greatest verses in rap history.
Originally from Long Island, New York, R.A. was raised by his father, a Vietnam veteran whose exposure to Agent Orange left two of R.A.’s siblings with severe disabilities.
I recently had the chance to speak with R.A. The Rugged Man for Anarchast episode 510, since he’s performing at Anarchapulco 2020 next week, along with Freenauts!
We started off reminiscing about old school hip-hop. Then when I asked R.A. his take on modern-day Mumble Rap, our conversation took an interesting turn from culture to politics.
He explained the dumbing down of society and even compared Trump’s cult following to Obama’s:
“Trump is the dumbest of the dumb… but Obama was a start of it too, because it was like, you know, ‘oh he’s doing a cool dance!’ It wasn’t about Obama’s policies, it was about how cool he was, and ‘look at the songs he has on his iPods!’ That was a dumbed down thing too.
It didn’t matter that Obama was starting wars with country after country and murdering civilians, it didn’t matter, because ‘We like Obama, he’s our god.’ Now Trump is a god for a whole different side of the country.”
Once we got to discussing anarchy and statism, the outspoken MC did not hold back:
“My man got locked up in Staten Island for having poker games–like come on–who the f–k are you? And they’re all profiting off of that. So you’re going to take away my freedom for playing a game and putting money into it? Who are any of these people to tell us anything?
Say I want to take a certain drug–I’m a grown ass man–you’re gonna come and ‘protect me’ from it? Then you’re gonna have the government and the medical institutions medicate everybody and give them all this shit that they’re depending on, and when they can’t get it they’re going to heroin and going to the streets. Meanwhile if we do a drug on our own, it’s like ‘put him in jail for 20 years!’
F–k them all. I believe in our freedoms. Let us be and leave us the f–k alone!”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Enjoy the full show here:
His last album, Legends Never Die, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. Now, R.A. The Rugged Man is back with All My Heroes Are Dead, a brand new record that stands as his best work to date.
“Society left our heroes and their culture for dead. We have to dig that out of its grave and slap them in the face with what we know as greatness, and bring it back with an angry vengeance,” R.A. says.
While Legends Never Die was dedicated to the memory of his father, All My Heroes Are Dead is R.A.’s first album since becoming a father himself. “When you have children, that’s a whole other level of joy and pain and emotion,” he describes.
Get Tickets for all the action, from workshops and plant ceremonies to the retreats and VIP dinners at Anarchapulco.com (get a livestream pass if you can’t join us in person!)